Ok, everyone knows your period is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a perfectly natural – if sometimes irritating – part of life.

However, as natural and wonderful and empowering as your period might be, very few of us want to bellow “HIYA I’M MENSTRUATING” at our friends when we’re walking down the road. So in case you find them useful, we asked 38 women for their favourite period euphemisms. You are welcome.

1. Aunt Flo

2. Surfing the crimson wave

3. Ladies’ week

4. Mr P

5. Nature’s mess

6. Menzies

7. Josie’s visiting – ”My Mum always said Josie’s visiting. Then it became just Josie. Never managed to make friends with any women called Josie – too many associations”

8. On the blob

9. Shark week

10. The moon sickness

11.Me and my friends have long referred to it as our ‘pez’. ‘Can’t go swimming today I’m on my pez’ or sometimes ‘pezza’, or ‘the ol’ pezza’.”

12. A Leona situation (ie. bleeding love)

13. Happy-fun-lady-time!

14. “I liked it when Tina Fey referred to it as ‘Aunt Blood'”

15. Having the painters in

16. Falling to the communists

17. Pez dispenser

18. “At my school girls say they’re ‘flying’. Because of the wraparound wings.”

19. Molly has come to visit

20. “My four-year-old sister calls it ‘nappy week'”

21. Rag week

22. Code red

23. Arsenal are playing at home

24. “My boyfriend and I refer to it as ‘my curse’ as a tongue-in-cheek reference to what men called it in the olden days”

25. The Red Sea is flowing

26. “My boyfriend calls it ‘Hanna time’”

27. Lunar flow

28. Ordering ‘l’omelette rouge’

29. Aunt Irma’s in town

30. Bloody Mary

31. Flowers

32. Dracula’s teabag

33. Lucifer’s waterfall

34. Reboot

35. Having your fairies

36. Hiding from Joffrey

37. Bernard

And my absolute, absolute favourite.

38. My Dolmio Day.

Mmm.

@orbyn

Image: Hailey Hamilton

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Tampons. Perfectly practical items, with mysteriously magical properties. No matter how organised, tidy or careful you are, they have a tendency to escape their packaging and turn up under sofa cushions, in forgotten pockets and for me, once, in a vintage gilt lipstick case that had belonged to my Nan.

We can’t stop it from happening, so we must find the beauty and wonder in the unexpected – it’s like Blue Planet, if it all took place in a suburban high street chemist. Here are 11 times when we’ve all wondered “How did that get THERE?”

In the pockets of the slightly musty fleecy anorak you were about to take to the charity shop

You’re pretty sure you weren’t even having periods, last time you wore this. There is a photo of you taken in 2005 where you’ve accessorised it with a Bratz lunchbox and a grazed knee.

In the carrier bag that has been wrapped around another carrier bag that contains the exploding Thermos full of soup that you hoped to eat for lunch.

Urghh, it’s as if the universe wants you to eat sandwiches forever. On the plus side, having a random absorbency aid in the mix probably limited the damage you’ve done to your schoolbag.

In your bra

It’s a good idea in an emergency, and then a terrible idea when you forget until you get ready for bed and discover that the scratchy lace you’ve been moaning all day about is actually pointy cellophane.

In your trainers

Tampons are secret fitness fiends, and have a mysterious ability to roll into the toe of any sports shoe. We think it’s their passive-aggressive way of reminding us that a little exercise will ease the cramps.

In the book you’d put down somewhere and forgotten about

“This book is brilliant! I mustn’t lose my place. I just need a bookmark – but there are no receipts in my pocket. Not even a bit of tissue… oh, wait! I can use this tampon that’s been in my bra!”

In the middle of the floor of the bus

Everyone is looking at it. No-one is going to take responsibility for it. Someone is trying to edge it out of the way with their foot before a naughty boy spots it and yells “IS THAT YOURS? ARE YOU ON YOUR PERIOD?”

In the drawer where your family keeps old keys, screwdriver heads, bits of string and manuals for things that were thrown out three years ago

This drawer never, ever contains what you’re looking for, but it always has at least two tampons at the bottom, no matter how often you take them out and throw them away. It also contains an instruction manual for the tampons.

In the bag you ‘borrowed’ (without asking) from your sister

The only thing to do is to take a dignified breath, compose yourself and say “What do you mean, I stole your bag? I think what actually happened is that you stole my tampons.”

In your pencil case

But only when someone you fancy or are keen to befriend asks to borrow a highlighter. “Help yourself!” you say cheerfully, before spotting it and praying they assume it’s a novelty rubber.

In your wallet

“And will you be paying by cash, card or menstrual hygiene product?”

Under your heel

You’re pottering about in your bedroom, doing some relaxed admin, sighing at your floordrobe and putting socks in the washing basket to be productive. Suddenly there’s a twinge in your ankle and an unwelcome pressure on your sole, as you’re forced to grab the wall so that you don’t fall over. Less than two inches of cotton can, under the right circumstances, floor an entire human being.

This really should be used in a Bond film as a plot device.

@NotRollergirl

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Cartwheels, leotards, THE SPLITS – gymnastics might sound like the most terrifying activity you could ever attempt on your period, but for those of us who love it and don’t want our bodies to hold us back (like, evereverever) you can totally still participate in gym. Yep, even if you’re bleeding.

How, you shriek? What if my pad looks massive and slides out of place, how the heck do I even attach it because I can’t use wings, or what if my tampon string hangs out in the middle of a backbend? The period terror is real.

Well don’t fret, back-flipping dreamers. One of team betty actually used to be a fancy pants gymnast and has a few helpful tips for you…

Double up

If you’re a bit of a pro, you’re probably used to whipping off all your underwear before you slip into your leotard – after all, knickers on show underneath your super glitzy competition outfit is not the one. But if you’re on your period, an extra layer between your vagina and your costume could be the difference between a flawless floor routine and one that’s accessorised with blood. Just try high-cut knickers if you’re worried about flashing and go for a pair that’s the same colour as your leotard.

Prep your pants

If you think you might-maybe-possibly-a-tiny-bit be about to come on your period, prep those knickers! Use those high-cut undies to the max and make sure you stick in a panty liner – even if the chances of you coming on are literally 1%. You can’t be too careful, especially if your feet are going behind your head at any point.

Try tampons

Never tried using tampons before? Well, this might be the perfect time to give them a go. Ask your mum to pick some up from the supermarket or pop to the shops after school then block out some bathroom time to perfect your technique. Chances are you probably won’t nail it the first time, the second, probably even the third time, but if you stay super relaxed you might be able to slide it in just fine. All you need to think about come competition time is tucking in your string and smiling!

You do you

No matter how much you want to compete or take part in your fave weekend club, if you’re not feeling up to it just stay at home! There’s absolutely no shame in looking after yourself and giving your body what it needs to get through your time of the month, whether you’re suffering from cramps, headaches or you’re just tired out. Period.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

We all know that an hour of maths homework feels longer than an hour of hanging out with your friends. It’s science or, er… something. It’s the same phenomenon that can make a day on your period feel like a week. But while it feels like forever, how long is it actually meant to last?

Can this be over already?

When you first start menstruating, there will probably be some variation in how long your period lasts, but it could be anywhere between one day and 10 days. It’s also likely that your period will be a bit irregular, stopping and starting and stopping and starting more times than Ross and Rachel in Friends.

When your cycle gets more regular, you will have a better idea of how long your period will last.

Okay, but what’s the average?

Generally, periods last for anywhere from two to seven days. Once your uterus has stopped jumping up and down with all the excitement of puberty, things should become fairly consistent. So, if you’re one of the #blessed people who have three-day periods, it’s likely they’ll stay that way for a while.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • When you first start menstruating, there will probably be some variation in how long your period lasts, but it could be anywhere between one day and 10 days.
  • When your cycle gets more regular, you will have a better idea of how long your period will last.
  • Generally, periods last for anywhere from two to seven days.

We know it can feel like your period is going on forever, but that doesn’t mean you’ve drawn the short straw in the uterus lottery. Those who have periods for three days might find they’re more intense, like a 100m sprint. Whereas those who have a full week or more might find that their period is longer but lighter (you know where this is going), like a mile-long jog.

Either way, you’ll find out what’s the usual deal for you. And remember – sometimes 10 is better than one…

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

You may have heard of TSS, but do you know what the heck we’re really talking about? Sure, there are sooo many acronyms to remember but here’s one that shouldn’t be confused with TB (eww, those jabs), TTC (time travel capsule anyone?), or TGIF (surely this one doesn’t need explaining).

TSS is seriously serious though, so it’s time you learnt everything there is to know. Test your super-knowledge by taking the quiz!

So what does TSS stand for?

TSS is known as a “systemic infection.” In a nutshell, this means it affects…

But what even happens?

A super-absorbent tampon that’s left in for a long time, creates the perfect cosy situ for bacteria growth and TSS. Is this true?

One of these is NOT a typical symptom of TSS. Can you spot it?

You can die from TSS. True or false?

If you think that you have TSS, what should you do?

You should never-ever leave a tampon in for longer than…

How many cases of TSS do you reckon are linked to tampon use?

What can reduce the risk of TSS?

Toxic Shock Syndrome is mega serious, but it’s also rare. Fact or fib?

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Menstrual cups have kind of earned a bad rep as the weird, hippy sister of pads and tampons. The first time I heard about them I thought they were a) gross, b) scary, and c) never going within three feet of my vagina.

But now, I tell anyone who will listen about how amazing they are. Give me the chance and I’ll spend a good half an hour waxing lyrical about how buying a menstrual cup is the best decision I’ve made since I ditched underwired bras.

So, what’s the deal? Are they scary? Can they get stuck? Are they super expensive? Let’s investigate…

What exactly is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a soft, silicone cup that you insert into your vagina when you’re on your period.

How do they work?

Instead of absorbing fluid, like a tampon, menstrual cups collect it. You insert your cup (more on that later), wear it for up to 12 hours, empty it, rinse it out and reinsert. It’s that simple!

What’s so good about them?

1. They’re good for the planet. If you’re a bit of an eco warrior like me, you can stop stressing about adding to landfill because you can reuse the same one for years.

2. They save you money. They usually cost between £20 and £30, which might sound like a lot but considering you only have to buy one, you’ll save some cold hard cash in the long run.

3. They’re convenient. You never have to worry about forgetting to stock your bag with enough tampons for the day again!

4. They last longer. Menstrual cups can hold more fluid than a pad or tampon meaning fewer changes.

5. They don’t dry you out. Everyone who’s ever removed a tampon on the last day of their period knows what I’m talking about…

Which one to choose?

Choosing the right size has a lot to do with how positive your menstrual cup experience will be. Most brands do two main sizes: one for women who’ve given birth and one for those who haven’t. But there are loads of other styles and sizes available too. There are shorter cups, teen cups, compact cups, even cute coloured cups! Do some research first and choose the best one for you.

How do you put them in?

To insert your menstrual cup, start by folding it in on itself to make it smaller (I can hear your sigh of relief…). There are a few folds you can try so it’s worth experimenting a bit. You can take a look at the leaflet that comes with your cup or, if you want a bit more help, check out the videos and diagrams that most menstrual cup brands have on their websites.

Once you’ve mastered the fold, in it goes! You can sit, squat or stand, it’s totally up to you. Just relax and take your time. There are two important things to mention here. 1. A menstrual cup sits lower than a tampon, so that the base is just inside your vagina. 2. As it gently unfolds into place, you might hear a suction sound. DO NOT BE AFRAID LIKE I WAS! This is fine, it just means your cup is nice and secure and leak-free.

How do you take them out?

To remove your menstrual cup, you need to break the seal it creates. You can do that by gently running your finger around the rim of it or by squeezing the bottom of it. Then you simply pull it out. I like to fold mine in on itself a bit to make it easier.

What’s with the stem?

The stem is there to help you remove your cup but generally, manufacturers make them a bit on the long side so that you can trim them to the length you want. If the stem is too long, you might be able to feel it. If it’s poking or annoying you, remove your cup and trim the stem in stages until it feels comfortable. Some people even completely remove theirs; it’s all about personal preference. Reminder: never, never, never trim the stem while your menstrual cup is inside you! Always remove it first.

Do they feel weird?

This was my major worry and I can tell you 100% that they do not feel weird. In fact, once your cup is in the right position, you can’t feel it. Sure, it’s a slightly different inserting/taking out process to get used to but once you’ve got that down, there’s zero drama.

Can they get lost?

Nope! Your vagina isn’t an endless chasm, so your menstrual cup won’t – and can’t – just disappear into the abyss. If it ever goes a little out of reach (this is unlikely) just take a big, calming breath and push down with your muscles.

How long can you leave them in?

Menstrual cups can hold up to three times as much fluid as pads and tampons. They can be left in for up to 12 hours, giving you much longer between changes. When your period is heavier, you might need to empty it earlier but you’ll settle into a rhythm really quickly and figure out how long you can go depending on your flow.

What about public toilets?

Because you can wear them longer, you’re less likely to have to empty it in a public toilet but if you do, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Although most information says something along the lines of ‘remove, rinse and reinsert’, that’s not always possible. Luckily, you don’t have to rinse it every single time. It’s totally fine to just empty it, give it a wipe and pop it back in.

Pro tips

1. Always wash your hands before you insert or remove your menstrual cup.

2. Take your time the first time you use it. Some people take to them straight away, some don’t. No pressure.

3. Don’t be tempted by a super cheap one from a dodgy website. Proper menstrual cups are safe and certified. Put your health first.

And that’s it. You’re a menstrual cup expert now!

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.

Image: Katie Edmunds

FOMO is hard.

It’s one of those things that your parents won’t always get – especially when it comes to things like piercings, parties and that questionable fashion trend that sweeps through your school overnight – but it’s absolutely a valid feeling. I am totally with you.

What makes an intense case of FOMO even worse though, is when it’s related to something that you’re not even entirely sure about.

Hellooooo, periods.

Or should I say: where the hell are you, period? When you’re sat there twiddling your thumbs waiting for your first period and it feels like all of your friends are well on their way to becoming pros in the menstrual cycle business, you can get a bit… impatient.

Ok, so there’s no definitive formula to knowing when you’ll start your period. The truth is, being a bit on the early side or a tad late to the party is no big deal. Like, at all. We promise.

Admittedly though, I found that being the last of my mates to start mine came with a few specific side effects…

Recognise any of these?

You convince yourself that every bad mood is PMS

PMS is one of those things that gets thrown around in conversation quite a lot. A bit too much if you ask me. But it happens. I actually think I had a better understanding of what PMS was before I fully got the whole bleeding-from-your-vagina thing.

So when it got to the point when my closest girl friends had started their journey down the period path and started justifying every mood swing as PMS, I, of course, decided to follow suit. Because hey, sometimes you just want to be able to relate to your mate’s spontaneous outburst of Hulk-like fury over dropping their last square of Dairy Milk.

You embrace the whole ‘watch and learn’ thing

There are positives to being last, you guys. Honest! The biggest one is that you get to witness IRL the things your friends are experiencing and well, learn from them.

Let’s face it, there are lots of things that we’d rather chat to our carefully-selected friends about instead of an actual grown-up human. And as helpful and well intentioned I’m sure the older women in your life are, sometimes you just want to be able to ask whether or not your BFF managed to get her tampon in on the first try – without fear of an awkward conversation and attempted demonstration from Aunty Alison.

You worry you won’t sync with your mates

This is at the core of that severe case of FOMO we were just talking about earlier.

For right or wrong, my biggest and most irrational worry was that at our next sleepover all of my friends’ periods would have suddenly synced and then someone would make a new group chat without me where they’d all talk about top secret period stuff. Crazy, I know.

Don’t worry, the secret group chat never happened. It’s pretty much impossible for periods (or lack of) to come between a group of girls. It’s one of the things that really unites women, actually.

Turns out none of our cycles ever synced, but we still enjoyed adding period woes to our regular lunchtime moaning session.

You end up being a bit over-prepared

You know that old saying about not tempting fate? Well I was pretty much willing Mother Nature to come at me. I thought that if I carried a few tampons and pads around with me, my body would catch on and decide to play along.

It didn’t.

But on the plus side my friends were always super grateful when they were ever caught off-guard and I had supplies at the ready.

You get caught practicing your cramp face

Ok this one might just be me. But in an attempt to get out of cross-country in the torrential rain, I thought I’d pretend to be on my period. A period that I hadn’t started yet. And in preparation, I thought I’d better practice and get this cramp thing down.

So I spent a few minutes of my lunch testing various versions of my ‘cramp face’. Obviously, someone walked into the loos mid-rehearsal, which was mega awkward.

BUT when I explained that I was having really bad period cramps she shrugged and proceeded to make her way over to a cubicle. ‘Score!’ I thought, ‘I must pursue a career in acting straight away!’ 

Unfortunately my performance wasn’t quite convincing enough to get me out of a lengthy jog in the rain. But still, at least that’s one case of FOMO I didn’t have to worry about.

@JazKopotsha

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: New Girl

You’re totally cool with having periods and don’t let them affect your day-to-day, but somehow – no matter how much you trust your tampons and pads – wearing white when it’s that time of the month turns you into a nervous wreck.

Sure, you want to be like the lady in the adverts who rollerblades in her white jeans while on her period with not a leak in sight, but you know you’re not that girl. Or are you? Here are all the self-doubting thoughts you have when you ‘dare’ to wear white on your period.

1. OK, I’m definitely not wearing white today

You’re in full flow, you’re cramping hard and the last thing you need is to be thinking about visible leaks.

2. But those new jeans in my wardrobe are so comfy and cute…

Surely your tampon won’t let you down… will it?

3. I am a strong, confident woman, capable of knowing when she needs to change her tampon

The jeans are going on and you are going to WORK THEM, girl.

4. I’m just gonna go to the bathroom one last time before I leave the house

Yes, you’ve already changed your tampon twice in an hour, but you can never be too careful.

5. OMG, what if I stand up to get off the bus and there’s a puddle of blood?!

You’ll be a laughing stock and probably owe the bus company more than a year’s pocket money to clean their seat.

6. Why do all these shops not have customer bathrooms?!

You’re 100% gonna leak before you can find a loo. STRESSFUL.

7. Maybe I should just buy another outfit and change into it

You already owe your sister a three-figure sum this month, but surely she’ll understand, because PERIODS.

8. Nothing looks good. NOTHING.

The world is so cruel. Why do you even get periods again?

9. I should probably change my tampon again

Which means you’re going to have to go to a restaurant to find a toilet, which means you might as well eat while you’re there… McDonald’s counts as a restaurant, right?

10. I MADE IT!

You’re home, the red sea has not formed in your underwear, and even your cramps have subsided. Maybe you’ll wear white again tomorrow; it’s not so bad, after all.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

Periods, you’ve gotta love them. They have the ability to make us cry, rant and fall asleep for 12 hours straight…sometimes all in the same day. But hands-up if you feel kinda different when you come on? Like your usual chilled self has gone on her holibobs, leaving you with Little Miss Who-The-Heck-Is-This?

But before you think it’s weird to have a whole new ‘period personality’ for few days a month, we’re telling you, it’s normal. You can blame hormones for the randomness.

Curious to find out what your main mood is when you’ve got your period? Take our test below.

1. When raging hunger strikes, what are you nose-diving into to satisfy your cravings?

2. Soooo, you leaked on your school skirt. Do you…

3. Which of these animals do you identify with most when you’re on your period?

4. What does PMS stand for?

5. You’re on the bus journey home, feelin’ all tired. What’s playing in your headphones?

6. You’ve got your period and it’s just you, the sofa and a mountain of munchies. What do you watch?

7. Your brother/sister/annoying friend asks “Are you on your period or something?” How do you reply?

8. What are your go-to period pants?

9. When was the last time you had a really good cry?

10. Finish this sentence. “Tampons and pads…”

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Amber Griffin

Let’s go back to basics! What actually is a period? Here are some answers you will probably get from your over-sharing aunt and your weird school nurse:

“It’s when you become a woman.” Bleurgh.

“It’s a miracle.” Oh please.

“It’s your body’s way of showing it’s ready for a baby.”

WHAT?! Doesn’t my brain get a say? I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER WHERE I PUT MY MATHS HOMEWORK.

Breathe. Here’s the actual science.

Period blood isn’t like the blood that comes out of your body when you cut your elbow making an awesome save in football, or graze your knee tripping over a doormat. We call it ‘blood’ because frankly that’s less hassle than referring to it as ‘menstrual fluid and womb lining’, but that would be a bit more accurate.

Over the course of your menstrual cycle, progesterone causes the lining of your uterus to grow thicker with extra blood and tissue, making it extra cosy and snug in case a fertilised egg shows up and wants to become a baby.

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • Over the course of your menstrual cycle, progesterone makes the lining of your uterus grow thicker with extra blood and tissue, in case a pregnancy occurs.
  • If it doesn’t, as your hormone levels fall, the extra blood and tissue fall away and leave your body as your period. Wooo.
  • Just because your body is technically ready to have a baby, it doesn’t mean you have to be ‘a woman’ anytime soon.

If that hasn’t happened by about the 21st day of your menstrual cycle, your hormones will decide it’s time for their monthly clean-out. Then the lining of your womb comes away and leaves your body through your vagina. The bits of tissue can make things look less like tomato ketchup and more like chutney, if you get our drift….

Part of getting your period is your body showing that it’s able to have a baby. So if you are going to have sex and don’t want a tiny screaming person to take care of nine months later, you need to make sure you always use protection (condoms are also pretty crucial for preventing the spread of gross diseases).

But obviously, just because your body is ready, it doesn’t mean the rest of you is anywhere near. After all, you’ve still got your maths homework to find.

Moral of the story?

Don’t let your over-sharing aunt and your weird school nurse freak you out. But if you’re confused it’s a good idea to talk to an adult you trust, even if it’s just to ask about what products they use.

Also, we give you full permission to roll your eyes at anyone who says your period is a miracle. I mean, it kind of is – but there’s no need to get sappy about it.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Kate Forster

Cramps. Gnawing dull pain, sharp aches or rolling spasms, they come in all kinds of annoying varieties. An irritating inconvenience for one person is debilitating pain for someone else, with days off school required to spend curled up with a hot water bottle.

Historically, cramps were just something people had to deal with and power through, but this is finally changing. Recently there has been much more open discussion and study around periods and the intense pain they can cause, and the medical world is taking the treatment of cramps more seriously.

As someone who suffers from truly awful period pains (think being unable to move for hours at a time) I wanted to find out more from an expert. I asked Dr. Shirley McQuade, women’s health expert and Medical Director at the Dublin Well Woman Centre a few burning questions.

It feels like thousands of tiny knives stabbing me, but what’s actually happening to my body?

“The womb is made of muscle and when the muscle starts contracting to shed the lining of the womb (a period) women experience cramping. So, period cramping tends to happen for a day or two before bleeding starts and for the first 2 – 3 days of bleeding.”

Life is an unfair lottery, and I wanted to know why some people get exhausting period pains while others get off scot-free. Apparently, it’s all about ‘pain factors’ (things called prostaglandins and leukotrienes). Scientists have found there are higher levels of these substances in people who experience more severe pain around that time of the month.

Wait though, I’m getting cramps at weird times…

If you’ve just gotten your period and are experiencing cramps at other more unusual times in your cycle, don’t worry too much. “For the first year or two after periods start – and sometimes longer – periods are not regular and so cramping can happen at other times with little or no bleeding.”

You can also get cramps in the middle of your cycle – this is down to ovulation. It’s a good idea to keep a pain record to spot patterns, this can help you and your doctor figure out what other reasons there might be for your discomfort. Avoid self-diagnosing online, as this most likely will just cause you unnecessary anxiety (speaking from experience).

So, how do I deal with them?

A lot of people can deal with cramps in a straightforward way. They might just need a regular painkiller like paracetamol for the first day of their period. Others are sadly not as lucky, and Dr McQuade says a visit to the doctor is vital if your cramps are getting in the way of your routine and plans.

“You should see a doctor if the pain is interfering with your life – either regularly missing days from school or not being able to go out with friends. Most women will experience some cramping at period time but it should not stop your normal life. The doctor will ask about your diet and exercise level and what you have tried so far for the pain. Ask about the treatment choices available. Often this kind of period pain gets better as you get older.”

My friends don’t get them, so they don’t understand how bad it is…

People who don’t experience cramps can sometimes be insensitive about how much pain you’re in, but Dr. McQuade emphasises that if you’re cancelling plans regularly because of your pain, you need to talk to a medical professional. The best ways to cope with menstrual pain are regular exercise and a good diet, they can make a massive difference to how you feel during your period. If you’re not able to do any major exercise, some light yoga or pilates stretches really do make a difference.

Although we all reach for the chocolate during those tough few days, this can cause your blood sugars to spike and drop (it’s best to keep them stable). Skipping meals is also a big no-no, you need to care for your body and keep it nourished. Dr. McQuade is also an advocate of the trusty hot water bottle.

In terms of medicine, taking ibuprofen three times a day, two days before your period starts is what Dr. McQuade recommends. Prevention is better than cure. “Since the “pain factors” we mentioned earlier start being released before a period happens, it’s much more effective than waiting for the period pain to begin.”

Help! They are still really painful

Unfortunately some of us need other pain killers as ibuprofen might not have much of an effect on extreme cases. There are plenty of other brilliant options you can try out, under a doctor’s supervision of course. Many women also find taking the contraceptive pill can alleviate period pains, so this is also worth bringing up the next time you go to your GP.

Tracking your period in a notebook or using an app is probably one of the most useful things you can do. By recording your cycles and other menstrual symptoms like fatigue, nausea, tender boobs and bloating, you can see a clearer picture of what’s going on with your body. You’ll feel more in control and be able to explain your problems to your doctor clearly, ensuring you get the help that’s specific to you.

Don’t suffer in silence, and don’t let period pains take over your life. There are so many solutions out there that will make things easier for you.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Legally Blonde

Ahhh hormones, they make the world go round, right? Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration but they’re deffo responsible for rollercoaster emotions and the weird and wonderful things that happen to bods during puberty and beyond.

So are you clued up or totally clueless about the chemicals that make us fabulously female?

Let’s find out! (WARNING: This test is tricky).

1. Ok, so one of these ISN’T a legit hormone. Can you spot it?

2. What’s the name of the super-important hormone that kicks off your first period during puberty?

3. Aww, did you know the brain releases a ‘cuddle’ hormone that makes you feel all warm and loving. What’s it called?

4. What natural chemical in the bod causes those demon cramps when you’ve got your period?

5. Boys have oestrogen in their bodies too. True or False?

6. You feel pain less when oestrogen is at its highest (the week after your period finishes). Fact or fib?

7. The follicle-stimulating hormone sounds fancy. But what does it do?

8. Due to the blue light that devices let off, too much time on your phone late at night (yup, guilty), can meddle with the sleep-related hormone called…

9. Progesterone majorly peaks sometime during your monthly menstrual cycle, but do you know when?

10. What’s the name of the brain-chemical that makes you happy and fun? (When this dips you can feel super-sad too. Boo.)

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.